The other day I was sat getting my haircut down the local barbers, casually eavesdropping in on the conversation from the chair next to me, where the hairdresser and her client were decrying the decline of the Great British Nativity.
They longed for a return to the good ol' days of traditional nativities, where you kept it simple and stuck with your Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, innkeeper, assorted barnyard animals, shepherds, angels, wisemen and maybe a cheeky star to fill out the cast.
Mary, Joseph and the aliens
Instead, they swapped stories of nativity scenes invaded by random crocodiles, cringeworthy pop culture references and worst of all, aliens. The thought of Martians amidst the dirty manger, the crying baby and the painfully off-key yet endearingly sweet carols, infuriated and saddened my new barbershop friends.
Their outrage and dissatisfaction with the distorted Christmas story hit me hard. People don't want aliens, crocodiles and a commercialised Christmas. They want the real thing. The traditional scene of heavenly bliss in the dirty shed. They want the good old fashioned story of Emmanuel, God with us in the muck and mess of our world.
Could it be that people are bored of the aliens?
Could it be that the prophetic promise of Isaiah 9:6, proclaiming a baby born to be Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace, carriers far more interest and relevance to people than the out of place aliens and tired thirteen year old jokes about the X Factor?
This Christmas, who do you know who is fed up of the exaggeration and who longs for the real thing?
longing for a saviour
Where people bemoan the aliens, commercialism and cheap laughs that blight nativities across the nation, it’s time we reasserted the importance and relevance to our world today of of the Lord, Messiah and Saviour born to us on earth 2017 years ago.
Take time to revisit the real Christmas story, to consider the meaning of the promise of God with us. Pray for the people you know who are longing to encounter and know a Saviour, let's be bold and unashamed of knowing what and who Christmas is really about, God made flesh and born in a manger.
Check out these spoken word videos we made a few years back that tell the real story of Christmas, forgetting the aliens and picturing it all through the eyes of the shepherds, the wise men and Mary herself.